I received this question:

I can not figure out why mons is masculine. please explain. I googled and can not find my answer. from the rules I understand is that nouns ending in “s” are from the S-O-X rule and are feminine. Thanks, 

A Home School Mama who is TRYING to teach Latin and just when she thinks she’s got it…. 

Here is my reply:


This is one of the reasons the rules annoy me.   They can leave you high and dry. 

Latin isn’t math.  Languages are fluid.   Languages love breaking the rules.  For example, look at the English word one.  Pronounce it out loud.  Where in the world is the “w” sound coming from?  Oh, there it is.  It moved into the next word, two.  But, wait.  Where did the “w” sound go?  Argh!

I used to teach English as a second language.  Examples like the one above almost drove me to drinkin’.  I tried to explain that example to a room full of Koreans one time.  In the end, I shrugged my shoulders and told them,

“It’s the French.  It’s their fault.  Duke William just had to have some land in England.  So, he invaded and brought French with him.” 

They were confused.

“The French did this?”, they wanted to know. 

“Maybe,” I said. “It could have also been the Vikings.  Ragnar Lothbrook and his marauders came looking for gold and found some at the Lindisfarne monastery in 793 AD.  Thus, the Norse language invaded England giving us all kinds of new words, pronunciations, and all names that end in -son.” 

The Koreans just stared at me.

Languages are a mess. Some rules work.  Some don’t.  Just look at all of the pronunciations of the -ough words in English.  Slough, rough, cough, hiccough, through, thorough, and on and on.   

So, why is mons masculine?  Because it is.  Latin is much better behaved than English and for that, I am very thankful.  But anyone who thinks they can pack it into a perfectly organized box is asking for trouble. 

I know I didn’t help much.  But, maybe you can use my email to confuse your kids as I confused a room full of Koreans.  🙂